Office of Global Citizenship

Social Security Cards

If you are able to find employment that falls within your work authorization guidelines, you will need to apply for a Social Security Card in person. Applying for your Social Security Card is free, and you may apply at any Social Security Office, though we recommend the one in Tullahoma, TN.

Please note: In order to apply for your Social Security Card, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Secure employment that falls within your work authorization guidelines
  2. Be in the U.S. for at least 10 Days with an 'Active' Record
  3. Be "registered" or "validated" in SEVIS. When you arrive in the U.S. for your new program/job, you must check in with the Office of Global Citizenship. In most cases, this is accomplished through an online check-in form.  When this check-in procedure is completed, the office will register/validate your record in SEVIS within three business days. 

When applying for your Social Security Card, you will need to take the following documents with you:

  1. Social Security Application
  2. Valid I-20 or DS-2019
  3. Valid Passport
  4. Visa
  5. Printout of current I-94 record
  6. Proof of employment and work authorization*

*Proof of employment

  • J-1 students must have a completed Sewanee Social Security Verification Form for on-campus employment. J-1 students engaged in Academic Training must show a DS-2019 with Academic Training authorization and have a letter from the Office of Global Citizenship
  • F-1 students must have a completed Sewanee Social Security Verification Form for on-campus employment. For CPT, F-1 students must show an I-20 with CPT work authorization. For OPT, F-1 students must show an I-20 with OPT recommendation, as well as their EAD.
  • J-1 Scholars do not require proof, but you you may be asked for documentation, regardless. Should you be asked for such a letter, please indicate that you are a J-1 Scholar and do not need a letter. Should the official at the SSA insist, please ask to speak with a supervisor. The supervisor will likely be familiar with the relevant regulations and policies, which are addressed in Section RM 00203.480 C1 of the Program Operations Manual System (POMS) which is the SSA policy manual. This section states that "[a]n individual who presents a valid Form DS-2019 with one of the [aforementioned] categories [as] identified in Item 4 of the Form is presumed to have work authorization and does not require a sponsor letter."

Please also review the Social Security Administration Publication "International Students and Social Security Numbers" for additional information.